Keeping the Promise

by Nancy Ng

"Iíll love you forever
Iíll like you for always
As long as Iím living
My baby youíll be."

This quote from my youngest sonís favorite book sums it up pretty well, doesnít it? As I was trying to write a unifying editorial for this long overdue volume of News from FAIR, the little verse that lights Andyís eyes kept popping into my head. Overly sweet and simplistic at first reading, the words gain meaning on reflection and speak to the issues we are addressing: commitment, therapy, Motherís Day, grief, loss, family.

The commitment to "love forever" is the essence of the promise of parent to child, the cement of the bond. The security of that love, internalized, enable us to be ourselves. Many kinds of therapy are directed towards re-parenting with unconditional positive regard, a "like you for always" approach.

Sometimes it is very hard to like the child who is acting out, who is violent or destructive. Therapy can help a family separate the deed from the doer. Gerald Nelsonís article "Repairing the Bond" offers parents a practical guide to disciplining children who are hard to like, who actively resist being loved forever.

We all know some kids who take to heart the line about being the baby as long as weíre living. These are the kids who "blow out" at sixteen, who explode at nineteen, who hone sibling rivalry to a fine art. Even more challenging are those who come at two or six or eight determined never to anyoneís baby. These self-parenters push us away with word and action or vote against adoption by becoming chronic runaways.

Thankfully, the vast majority of kids who join families through adoption do just fine. FAIR kids know many others like themselves. Their parents network with others, learn at FAIR workshops, attend P.S. in times of stress, celebrate their familyís ethnicities at FAIRís cultural events and work together to bring positive adoption awareness to the larger community.

To the children Ė those who challenge us and those whose trust touches our souls; those who grew in our bodies and those whom we picked up, paper bag and all, at the shelter: those so quick we struggle to keep up and those who roll to a different drummer Ė to each and all, we say thank you. Thank for the opportunity to celebrate Motherís Day and to share in the adventure of you life.

  personal experiences : parent's perspective